Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced yesterday the International Violence Against Women Act. The bill was written with the input and expert advice of over 100 NGOs focusing on gender-based violence, human rights, health care, international development and aid, including the Women’s Edge Coalition, the Feminist Majority, Amnesty International, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, and Human Rights Watch.
The bill includes three major provisions to fight violence against women. First, it would create a central Office for Women’s Global Initiatives to coordinate US policies, programs, and resources that deal with women’s issues. Second, it requires a 5-year comprehensive strategy to fight violence against women in targeted countries and provides $172 million a year to support programs that fight violence against women. Last, the bill mandates training, reporting mechanisms and a system for dealing with women and girls afflicted by violence during humanitarian, conflict and post-conflict operations.
“The International Violence Against Women Act marshals together, for the first time, coordinated American resources and leadership to address this global issue. I believe the time is now for the United States to get actively engaged in the fight for women’s lives and girls’ futures, and we must begin by preventing and responding to the violence they face,” added Senator Biden.
Senator Biden was the chief sponsor of the domestic Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2006. This landmark legislation has provided billions of dollars for domestic violence shelters and training of law enforcement and judicial officers to improve response to domestic violence.